Careers: Tips for new faculty from OSU

The English department at Ohio State University has put together an incredibly useful manual for new faculty. While it's in a folder marked "internal" they didn't tell the google robot not to index it, and I encountered it while searching for something else.

I wish all departments or colleges would put together something this comprehensive. Skip over the first sections which deal with photocopying and mailing codes, and go to the meaty mentoring sections. Here's one example:


Yup, it’s a major part of your job here.

I. Productivity

Finish your book. Many of those of us who have been at OSU for some years sense that, along with the omnipresent discourse of “excellence” that surrounds us in OSU’s quest to improve its national rankings, the bar at tenure time has been raised. Make no mistake: you are expected to have produced a completed book manuscript in contract to a reputable press by the time of your sixth-year review. [
In fact, the language is ratcheting up a bit from the College; the guideline is now to have a book ‘in production’ by the time of your sixth-year review—which means in copy-editing or proofs if not already between covers. And you’re also expected to have some journal publications by tenure time, though, happily, these can be excerpts from your book—JG.] You can dicker with this pronouncement if you care to, because everyone can produce anecdotally an exceptional case in which things didn’t go as expected one way or the other: someone without a book contract got tenure or someone who did didn’t. The basic message is quite clear though, and the days when someone can get tenure without a contract by the time of the departmental review are over. Write. Get the time off to get your research done by applying for our generous research quarters (see section II below). Do not overburden yourself with unnecessary committee work. (By unnecessary, I mean beyond what the Department expects of you. You can volunteer for extra committees till Doomsday instead of writing your book and you’ll still be doomed at tenure time.)

Do not procrastinate. Do not assume you will be an exceptional case because everyone likes you so much. Get your book written by your fourth-year review so that it can be in contract by sixth-year review. It takes a long time to submit a manuscript to a press, to wait for replies, and perhaps to have to send the ms. to another press. Don’t wait until the last minute or you might hang yourself. As Jim Phelan puts it, “don’t do brinksmanship!”

Does your department or college have a manual for new faculty? If so, post a link to this site.